Most powerful OCR currently available for iPhone?

iOS & iPadOS

I haven't tried to use OCR on my phone for a while,, other than really basic stuff. When I tried to scan two pages of a book today with my old KNFB reader, I discovered that it doesn't play nicely unless you are using Samantha in IOS 14.5, and even then it isn't all that great anymore. It looks like they stopped supporting this one a long time ago, switched to an enterprise version, and I can't even tell if that is currently supported.

My question is: what is out there that supports multiple columns, allows saving of multiple pages, and can maybe do work to improve things like scanning a double page spread of a book? The iPhone camera is good enough to do a nice job for complex scanning, if there was just some powerful software to support it.



Submitted by Maldalain on Saturday, July 10, 2021

I believe Envision can do column recognition and it performs really well. I wish there is a way to recognise tables as well with the app.

Submitted by Chris Hill on Saturday, July 10, 2021

It worked fine scanning a two page spread of a book. The only thing I noticed is that it is fairly slow doing that on my iPhone 8. I guess I've been needing a reason to upgrade.

But, they stopped updating it. Pay $20 a year for five years or more for Envision, and you could easily pay more than the KNFB reader cost when I bought it. I believe that the subscription model might actually keep the developers working on the project, though, instead of giving up when the next new competitor comes in and gets all the press. I just wish Envision was as fast as the KNFB reader is.

Submitted by Karina Velazquez on Sunday, July 11, 2021

Hi, I use a lot of printed papers for my job, and depending on what I need in that moment, I use this two apps.
For reading a full page or document, Voice Dream Scanner is more accurate, but if you need to read something quickly in order to just to find something or so, I suggest Seeing AI is better.

Submitted by Chris Hill on Sunday, July 11, 2021

It is a good program, but I don't believe it handles multiple columns. I could be mistaken. For the best scanning I've found, I'd say Envision or KNFB.

The better the picture or better the scan the better the accuracy. The quality of the print also plays a role. If you really need as much accuracy as possible I argue that a mobile device with a camera is not the way to go. Use a dedicated scanner. Even so, no OCR solution is 100% accurate. The apps mentioned in this thread are good for on the go. Remember to that iOS 15 is going to have built in OCR from Apple so that will be interesting. Still, if you're scanning mission critical stuff like your taxes, use a dedicated scanner.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Sunday, July 11, 2021

In reply to by Travis Roth

I agree, but all other things being equal, which app would you say is most accurate?


Submitted by Dennis Long on Monday, July 12, 2021

I'm surprised no one said supersense.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, July 12, 2021

What happen if you use iPhone that is faster such as 11 or up would it help scanning better compare to an earlier phone?

Submitted by Travis Roth on Monday, July 12, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

In reply to by Bruce Harrell

You know, that's a tough one. I like Seeing AI a lot for it's short text function. But there are times hat fails and Envision AI can make out the text especially if it is difficult text like if it is really tiny or something. At the same time as good as Seeing AI's short text feature is, I do not have that much success with the document feature. I tend to not scan entire documents much with the iPhone, but for me VoiceDream Scanner seems to do a little better job.
I've not used it in awhile, but at one point I had found that if I was really seriously needing accurate text on iPhone Prizmo Go was useful. It isn't, or wasn't the easieat app to use at the time but could do well.
I've meant to try out Office Lens which I have heard is good and is intended as a mainstream app, not an adaptive technology specific app, but have not done so.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Sunday, August 1, 2021

Honestly, I have several different OCR apps on my ipad. I think that this is one of those situations, where it's good to have several different apps on your device. Because some work better than others, and, depending on what you're doing, or what you're scanning, one app might be better suited for the task at hand, or one app might give you info that you don't need at the time. Like, if you're scanning your bank statement, you don't necisarily need to know that it's a pic of a piece of paper sitting on a table. You just need the text. Or one app might be better at handling certain formats than others.

Another thing you could try, is take a pic of something with your phone camera. Then, go to browse photos in Seeing AI, and then select the photo to be analyzed from there.

I have Voice Drean Scanner, OCR converts photos into text, or something like that, I forget the exact name at the moment, Seeing AI, as well as a couple other apps that I've not had a chance to try out yet. Another reason I say it's good to have multiple OCR. apps, is, if the one you use the most quits working, or, if their servers or whatever are down, then you have another one that you can use in the meantime. But, if you want my favorite, it's Seeing AI. It has a place in my dock. I use it to analyze memes mostly. I take a meme that was either sent to me via Messenger, or that I found on Facebook, then save it to my ipad. Then, I use a 4-finger tripple tap, to activate the recognize with Seeing AI. choose the photo I want analyzed, and poof I'm done. I have a description of the image, and the text with it.

One more thing I think should be kept in mind, is that no matter which app you use, there's no such thing as 100% accuracy. I know I'll probably get some flack for saying this. But, it's true. Computers are not perfict by any means. Plus, it's like a previous poster said, there's a laundry list of other factors that can tip the scales in or out of your favor, such as how big the text is, lighting, legibility, if it's handwritten, etc.

I don't have KNFB reader, because I'm a cheapskate. To me, $100 USD. is intirely too much to spend on an app.

I hope this helps you, and sorry for the long comment.

Submitted by peter on Monday, August 2, 2021

the NFB Reader app functions now come integrated into the free NFB Newsline app. Some of the functionality is stripped down from the full NFB Reader app, but most functionality is there and might be worth a try.

What is particularly nice about the Seeing AI app is that it also has the short text recognition function which uses your device's video rather than the still camera. Thus it is nice for catching a quick snippet of text or recognizing text that changes.